It took a while---16 years to be exact---but it finally happened. The Watauga High girls basketball team finally picked up its first win on the road against South Caldwell since the 1996-97 season. WHS rallied
and defeated South Caldwell 36-28 in a Northwestern 3A/4A Conference game down in Sawmills, N.C. And the Pioneers (6-7 overall; 1-2 NW3A/4A), who won their first conference game of the year, got the job done in dramatic fashion.
The Pioneers trailed by as many as nine points in the first half, and they were down 25-18 after three quarters following a three-ball by Lindsey Potter at the horn, but junior Savanna Wood and a stingy defensive effort turned the tide in the fourth quarter.
The Pioneers, thanks to a stingy defensive effort in the second half, out scored South Caldwell 18-3 in the final stanza. Savanna Wood produced a pair of steals and two transitions baskets that gave WHS the lead. Her bucket with 3:25 gave the Pioneers a 27-25 advantage and put them on top to stay. The Spartans (5-8; 2-3), mired in a three-game losing streak, never recovered from that blow.
"I can't phantom 16 years," said WHS coach Klay Anderson. "I was a sophomore in college, I wasn't even dating my wife, and some of my players weren't even born. It's hard to believe our girls went 16 years without a win in this building. But tonight, it was a team victory. They showed a lot of heart and played with a purpose in the second half."
Wood finished with eight points and six steals. Kaelin McNeill paced the Pioneers with nine points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Loflin came off the bench and poured in seven points. Clare Harris finished with six points on a pair of threes.
"We got big efforts tonight from Kaelin and Ryan," Anderson said. "It's a big win for us. We're starting to gain momentum and we're building a tradition that we're going to be around every year. We're going to be competitive every time out. We're not a doormat anymore. We could have laid down tonight. We got off to a bad start, but we fought through it, and we won this game with a complete team effort."
Courtney Wood led the Spartans with 11 points. South Caldwell also played the game without its best player, Anna Lee Bollinger, who is out for the year with a torn ACL in her left knee. Bollinger suffered the injury at the Catawba Valley Christmas Classic in late December. Potter added seven points for the Spartans.
WHS 36, SOUTH CALDWELL 28
SCORE BY PERIODS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th TOTAL
WATAUGA 2 9 7 18 - 36
SOUTH CALDWELL 9 7 9 3 - 28
WHS: WOOD 8 (6 STEALS), MARGOLIS 2 (9 REBOUNDS, 2 BLOCKED SHOTS), HARRIS 6, McNEILL 9 (11 REBOUNDS), LOFLIN 7, WELSH 2. FG: 14, 3FG: 2, FT: 2-9.
THREE-POINTERS: HARRIS 2
SCHS: GOSNELL 3, RABY 3, POTTER 7, WOOD 11, WOHALA 2, EVERHART 2. FG: 10, 3FG: 1, FT: 5-12.